• Patrick McAndrew

Provoking Thoughts Through Entertainment

Entertainment vs Knowledge

We love to be entertained. It’s an escape. It’s a getaway from the hum-drum boredom of everyday life. If we are entertained, our minds are able to flow freely into another world as our bodies either sit in autopilot or are activated in the same way. Whether it be at a concert or watching a movie, we are able to runaway from existence and enjoy an altered life.

The same should be said for acquiring knowledge. Knowledge allows us to add information we take in and experiences we have had to create wisdom. Rather than being an escape, it allows us to better understand the world we are living in. For whatever reason, this is less appealing to most people. This could be because acquiring knowledge takes just a little bit of effort while entertainment usually doesn’t require anything from us besides idle consumption. It’s rare that you will ever find a library as packed as a concert. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a crowded library, but that’s likely because I rarely go to the library.

The Value of Entertainment

We, as a collective society, place a much greater value on entertainment than knowledge when it comes to our free time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if we have mentally straining days at work. But when we cease to stop growing and learning in favor of entertainment, that’s when it becomes a problem.

I have discovered that people do not like to be told what to do. I don’t really consider myself a bossy person, and I live by the mantra that one shouldn’t give advice unless asked. But, even when giving my opinion after asked, a lot of people still don’t want to hear it. It’s only the rare bird who seeks advice and then retains it. This is the case with anyone, myself included.

If we tell someone to sit at home and read a book instead of watching a movie, they are unlikely to do so, especially if they just want to sit, relax, and watch a good flick. If we preach to the choir about how important knowledge is, no one is going to drop their Monday night football game to improve their minds. I shouldn’t say no one, but I think you get the idea. We take great pride in their comforts and rituals. We humans need to relax. If you try telling me that I should do some more work “for my mind” when I come home from an exhausting day at work, you’re crazy! Most people are simply not interested.

An Inside Out Approach

What I recommend is to infiltrate from the inside. We are attached to our devices. We love consuming mindless entertainment. So, we need to make our messages and missions more appealing than what is on the screens. We live in an attention economy. If you aren’t holding my attention, forget it.

My goal is to do this through theatre and acting. While theatre certainly falls within the entertainment category and can serve that purpose alone, it also has the opportunity to provoke thought. This is my aim in my one-man show, REEL; I want to provoke thought. In any piece of theatre or art that I am working on, I am looking for the ways it provokes thought, if not just entertains. Ideally, it does both. We must entertain the general public SO MUCH that provoking thought is more intriguing than cat videos or people falling over (though these still have their place).

Provoke Thoughts

Our aim should be to provoke thoughts. Provoking thoughts allow us to open our minds to new ideas and experiences. Provoking thoughts allow us to look at the world from a different perspective. Whether it be through theatre, film, television, or another sort of media, entertainment has a greater power than it is currently utilizing. Entertainment should encourage us to create and spread positive messages for change in the world. A funny video or show is great from time to time, but we mustn’t let that consume all our brain power. It’s crucial for us to exercise our brains, as we do with our bodies, or else it will just atrophy. Entertainment, while tasty and delicious, often does not provide us with any nutritional value.

We should be intentional consumers. Just as we need to be mindful with the food we put in our bodies, we should be mindful of the entertainment we are placing in our minds. Junk food every now and then won’t hurt anyone. It’s delicious and I, myself, love a good dessert as much as the other guy. But if we are eating cookies and brownies everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it will leave us feeling sick and incapable of doing much.

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